New and troubling developments at Florida A&M University, the historically Black college that has been rocked by several violent hazing incidents. The most high-profile case is the November 2011 death of openly gay drum major Robert Champion.
Two FAMU music faculty members have been placed on administrative leave following allegations they were present while band fraternity pledges were hazed, reports the Tallahassee Democrat. The incident was reported to police two days after the Champion's death.
A Tallahassee Police Department investigative report, released Wednesday, tells of 14 Kappa Kappa Psi band fraternity pledges who gathered at the off-campus home of a faculty member and were subjected to paddling and punishment related to initiation rituals.
The police report includes incidents of paddling, "necking" and "prepping" to describe blows on the neck and buttocks administered to fraternity members. An unnamed student ... described events from the spring of 2010. "He further stated that he remembers receiving anywhere from 20-25 'licks' across his buttocks with the paddle," the police report said.
The police incident report lists Diron Holloway and Anthony Simons — both employed by Florida A&M, according to the police report — as suspects in the hazing investigation. The report concludes that no charges will be brought against anyone.
The faculty members will not be prosecuted because the two-year statute of limitations has expired.
Robert Champion died during a band trip to Orlando on November 19. The 26-year-old drum major suffered blunt trauma blows and died from shock caused by severe bleeding, according to the autopsy. Detectives are investigating the death as a homicide.
Champion's family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the owner and driver of the charter bus where the hazing ritual took place. The lawsuit alleges that the bus company and its bus driver willingly participated in illegal hazing acts over many years. The lawsuit reveals graphic details of violence.
Champion's parents publicly revealed in January that their son was gay. In addition to being vocally opposed to hazing, Champion's sexuality could have been among the reasons why he was viciously beaten during the attack, according to the family's attorney. Seven members of the university's fabled Marching 100 band were recently arrested on hazing-related charges. But there have been no arrests in connection with Champion's killing.
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